China imposes tighter online music, gaming rules

China is tightening control over its online music and game industries, ordering distributors to submit all imported products for approval by official censors, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the moves come amid official efforts to step up control over the Internet and other media, both to shield Chinese companies from competition and to suppress material deemed politically sensitive, violent or sexually graphic.

The music controls are meant to encourage growth of a 'civilized and healthy' Internet and to protect Chinese companies that have lost market share to foreign rivals, the Culture Ministry, quoted by the Associated Press report, said.

The rules apply to Web sites and mobile phone companies that distribute music, the ministry said. It said distributors of Chinese music must register but won't be required to submit products for approval.

The rules also ban the establishment of foreign-financed music distributors, the ministry said.

In online games, distributors must obtain approval to release imported titles and must file monthly reports confirming that operators haven't added forbidden content, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

China has 23 million online game players, up from 13.8 million in 2003, according to Xinhua. It said revenues this year are expected to reach $850 million, the report further said.